Harvesting 101: Knowing When and How to Harvest Your Cannabis Crop

Photo Cannabis buds

Growing your own cannabis plants for personal use has become more and more common in recent years. It is crucial to harvest cannabis at the appropriate time, regardless of experience level or lack thereof as a grower. Making the right harvesting decisions will guarantee that your finished product has the right amount of flavor and potency. The many stages of cannabis plant growth, how they impact when to harvest, and strategies to help you optimize both yield and quality will all be covered in this article. For cannabis to have the desired flavor & potency, harvesting it at the proper time is essential.

Key Takeaways

  • Harvesting cannabis at the right time is crucial for maximizing yields and quality.
  • Different stages of cannabis plant development affect the timing of harvesting.
  • Signs of maturity in cannabis plants include changes in color, trichome development, and pistil color.
  • The best time of day to harvest cannabis is early in the morning before the sun hits the plants.
  • Tools needed for a successful harvest include pruning shears, gloves, and drying racks.

Certain stages of plant development are when the active ingredients in cannabis, like THC and CBD, are at their highest concentrations. A product that is harvested too early may be less potent, and a product that is harvested too late may have more cannabinoid degradation and less flavor. Several developmental phases are experienced by cannabis plants, & each one affects when is best to harvest. The vegetative stage is the initial phase, when the plant concentrates on developing leaves & stems.

This stage is mainly about building a solid foundation for the plant, so harvesting is not relevant. The second stage, known as the flowering stage, is when the plant starts to make buds. For deciding when to harvest, this is the most important phase.

Pistils, which are tiny white hairs that emerge first, are the first of the buds’ several stages. Pistils typically turn from white to orange or brown as the buds ripen. The plant is approaching its harvest window, and this color shift is a crucial sign of it.

You need to look for certain physical indicators to tell if your cannabis plants are ready to be harvested. The color of the pistils is among the most trustworthy indicators. The majority of pistils turning from white to brown or orange indicates that the plant is almost fully grown.

In addition, a microscope or magnifying glass can be used to examine the trichomes, which are tiny resin glands on the buds. The plant is getting close to reaching its maximum potency when the trichomes appear milky or hazy. For a more sedative effect, some growers would rather hold off until the trichomes have turned amber. You can also affect the quality of your finished product by picking the right time of day to harvest your cannabis.

Harvesting in the morning, just after the lights come on, is a preference shared by many growers. This is because the plant is at its freshest because it has had a full night to recuperate from the strain of the previous day. Since the plant’s essential oils are at their highest concentration in the morning, harvesting in this time of day also allows for the best preservation of terpenes. All people may not be able to harvest in the morning, though.

Picking during the day will still yield good results if you are unable to harvest in the morning. Harvesting during the hottest part of the day should be avoided because too much heat can cause the buds to dry out too quickly. You will require a few key tools in order to guarantee a good harvest. To protect your hands from resin & sticky trichomes, these include gloves, a magnifying glass or microscope, and sharp pruning shears or scissors for cutting the buds. Also, it’s essential to maintain a sterile & clean environment during the harvesting process to stop the growth of mold or other contaminants.

It’s critical to keep your needs and budget in mind when selecting your tools. From simple pruning shears to sophisticated trimming machines, there are several options. Purchasing long-lasting, reliable tools is advised.

When your cannabis plants are ready to be harvested, you should cut and trim the buds. The main stem of the plant should first be cut, leaving a few inches of stem attached to the buds. This will facilitate handling and hanging the plants to dry.

Proceed to cut off any sizable fan leaves that don’t have a substantial resin content. You can preserve these leaves to use in concentrates or edibles. It’s time to trim the buds after the fan leaves have been removed.

In order to avoid detracting from the final product’s overall appearance and flavor, any excess leaves that surround the buds should be removed. A reduced yield may arise from removing too much material, so proceed with caution. To protect the trichomes, it’s also critical to handle the buds gently. It is important to note that drying & curing are crucial phases in the harvesting process. While the buds can acquire their full flavor and aroma through curing, drying entails removing the moisture from the buds.

Your cannabis’s potency and general quality can be greatly increased by carefully drying and curing it. Hang the cut buds upside down in a cold, dark, and well-ventilated area to dry your cannabis. For drying, 60โ€“70 degrees Fahrenheit and 45โ€“55 percent relative humidity are ideal. To keep the buds from getting too dry or from growing mold, it’s critical to keep a close eye on the drying process.

The buds are prepared for curing when they have dried for approximately a week. It takes a few weeks to cure dried buds by letting them “sweat” in airtight jars or other containers. This procedure contributes to the breakdown of chlorophyll and other substances, which enhances the flavor and produces a smoother smoke.

To avoid mold growth and release any excess moisture, it’s crucial to periodically burp the jars during the curing process. The quality of your cannabis harvest can be impacted by a number of factors. The growth and development of plants can be influenced by various environmental factors, including temperature, humidity, and intensity of light. To guarantee the best results, it’s critical to provide your plants the ideal conditions at every stage of their lives.

The quality of your harvest is also determined by genetic factors. The growth, flowering, and cannabinoid profiles of various cannabis strains vary. The strains you select should be carefully considered for both the intended effects and your growing conditions. Maintaining your cannabis’s flavor & potency over time depends on proper storage. Degradation of the cannabinoids and terpenes by air, heat, and light can leave a product with less flavor & potency.

It is advised to store your cannabis in cool, dark places using airtight glass jars or containers. Steer clear of plastic bags or containers when storing your cannabis because they can retain moisture and encourage the growth of mold. Paying attention to the details and experimenting with different techniques during the harvesting process will help you maximize your yields and quality. To document your observations and absorb the lessons from each harvest, keep a journal. Consider the unique requirements that each of your plants has, and modify your growing methods accordingly.

Try new techniques and technologies as well; they might help you achieve better outcomes. The right time of harvesting cannabis is essential to getting the desired flavor & potency in your finished product. You can increase yields and quality by being aware of the various phases of plant development, recognizing the telltale signs of maturity, and employing the appropriate instruments & methods. To keep your cannabis fresh, remember to consider genetic & environmental influences, cure and dry it correctly, and store it in the right way. You can continue to enhance your harvests & savor the results of your labor by practicing and experimenting.


What is harvesting in cannabis cultivation?

Harvesting is the process of cutting down mature cannabis plants and removing the buds for drying and curing.

When is the right time to harvest cannabis plants?

The right time to harvest cannabis plants is when the trichomes on the buds have turned from clear to cloudy or amber, and the pistils have turned from white to brown or red.

How do you know if a cannabis plant is ready for harvest?

You can tell if a cannabis plant is ready for harvest by examining the trichomes on the buds using a magnifying glass or microscope. When the trichomes have turned from clear to cloudy or amber, it’s time to harvest.

What tools do you need for harvesting cannabis plants?

You will need a sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears, gloves, a drying rack or screen, and a storage container for the harvested buds.

What is the best way to dry and cure harvested cannabis buds?

The best way to dry and cure harvested cannabis buds is to hang them upside down in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated room for about a week. After that, the buds can be placed in airtight containers and stored in a cool, dark place for several weeks to improve their flavor and potency.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when harvesting cannabis plants?

Some common mistakes to avoid when harvesting cannabis plants include harvesting too early or too late, using dull scissors or pruning shears, handling the buds too roughly, and not properly drying and curing the buds.

About the Author

Big Hippo Cannabis Seeds

Big Hippo supply top of the range cannabis seeds in the UK, including grow equipment, and CBD products - we also provide cannabis-related articles and information on our website at Big Hippo.

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